Monday Mornings with Madison

Just How Important is Teamwork in Business? Part 2

Word Count: 1,713
Estimated Read Time: 7 min.

We already know, from last week, that teamwork is not just a human skill.  The animal kingdom is filled with really impressive (and sometimes downright amazing) examples of teamwork.  Ant cities.  Bee colonies.  Starling murmurations.  To see these tiny creatures working cooperatively with the same synchronicity of a well-trained military unit and the most beautiful water ballet performers should make everyone’s head puzzle in wonder.  It takes a lot of practice, communication and concerted effort for humans to work as a team seamlessly, and yet bees, ants and birds – with brains the size of grains of sand and pebbles –all work in lock-step without practice or effort and with a seemingly limited ability to communicate.  And yet many companies can’t get departments to work cohesively or collaboratively.  Why?

First, employees need to understand that cooperation and teamwork is good not only for the company – which it is – but also for the individual.  Case in point. Continue reading

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Just How Important is Teamwork in Business? Part 1

Word Count: 1,952
Estimated Read Time: 8 min.

Teamwork is critically important in business, and becoming more so as the world becomes increasingly dense, complex and fast-paced.  And yet, few companies invest any money training new employees on how to collaborate within their corporate culture or hire consultants to identify ways to increase teamwork.  The goal is always to increase productivity, efficiency, quality or profitability.  And yet, by increasing teamwork, all of those increase.  Or do they? Continue reading

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Growing Your Career: 10 Hacks for Professional Growth

Word Count: 1,756
Estimated Read Time: 7 min.

Most everyone in the world of work wants to do well.  Grow.  Develop.  But professional growth does not just happen.  Some people’s careers seem to rise meteorically while others ascend at a glacial pace and still others are stuck or are even sliding downhill.  Career growth requires work… and not just doing good work at work.  It takes more than that to climb the ladder of success.  Here are 10 hacks to help fuel career growth. Continue reading

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Leaderspeak: 8 Things Great Leaders Say

Word Count: 1,447
Estimated Read Time: 6 min.

Anyone who has been in the business world for a period of time is bound to have worked with or for a manager, department head, middle manager or c-suite exec.  Most of these leaders were hired or promoted into positions based on their education and experience in a given field.  While some have leadership experience, the vast majority are just people who were experienced and adept at doing a job and then got promoted to lead a team doing that job.  Think of the Registered Nurse who is promoted to Head Nurse or the Attorney who is chosen Managing Partner of a law firm.  That nurse might have been highly skilled and qualified healthcare professional who never took a single leadership or management course in her life.  And that attorney might have been a rainmaker who was highly skilled at bringing in clients, winning cases and generating revenue, but had never managed anyone other than a paralegal or secretary.   The thought behind such promotions is that those who can do a job well can manage people doing that job.  It implies that leading and managing people requires the same skills used to handle projects, schedules or tasks. Continue reading

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Make Your Business Stand Out, Part 2

Word Count: 1,409
Estimated Read Time: 6 min.

Cutthroat competition results in nothing but a bloody red ocean of rivals fighting over a shrinking profit pool.  Rather than attempting to gain more share in an already saturated market, Blue Ocean Strategy is about creating demand in a growing, uncontested market and capturing this uncontested space.  Companies should look for new market space and ways to reinvent the industry. In short, avoid head-to-head competition and focus on innovation.  Such companies will have more success, fewer risks, and increased profits in a blue ocean market. Continue reading

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Make Your Business Stand Out, Part 1

Word Count: 1,444
Estimated Read Time: 6 min.

As the economy continues to languish due to the pandemic, it’s been harder for some companies to survive and thrive than others.  In part, that’s because the pandemic has affected some industries more than others.   Obviously, online retailers are faring better than brick and mortar stores.  And the pharmaceutical industry is definitely doing better than the travel and hospitality industries.  That said, some companies have pivoted and found ways to differentiate or reinvent themselves to meet the current challenge.  But, regardless of how the economy is doing, there is always a need for companies to stand apart.  Companies that have found a way to truly differentiate themselves in the marketplace will usually fare far better than those who are in fiercely competitive markets.

As any business owner can attest, competition can push companies to do better and be better, but fierce competition can also be crushing.  While most companies have some competitors, some companies have more competition than others.  In part, how they’ve managed to differentiate or reinvent themselves in the marketplace determines how well they do.  A key part of staying in business long-term is finding a way to stand apart from others in the same space. Continue reading

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The Price We Pay: Rethinking Price, Cost and Value

Nothing worth having is ever handed over for free.  Indeed, how much is paid for anything should factor in its perceived value, not just how much it costs to produce or how much a competitor is charging for it.  Really, that should be the last sentence in this article.  That is the take-away.  But, for many companies, value is not factored into the price.  That often means they leave money on the table.

To better understand the relationship of value, price and cost, let’s start by defining these terms.  Cost is the easiest to understand.  Cost is the aggregate monetary amount needed to produce and deliver a product or service.  It is the amount spent to make and provide goods or assistance.  Cost is a numerical calculation determined by the producer based on what is paid for materials, labor and overhead.  So cost is what the company pays in order to create.  For example, an architecture firm pays for the time, expertise and equipment of the architects employed to design structures, as well as the office space, benefits, ongoing training, etc.  Those are the hard and soft costs related to designing a building.

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Business and the Plot Twist

Word Count: 1,299
Estimated Read Time: 5 min.

Being able to deal with plot twists in business has become the indispensable skill for long-term business survival in every environment, but especially in times of economic and political crisis. Every independent professional, business executive, manager and business owner must be able to deal with the proverbial plot twist…. the unanticipated event or scenario that forces a radical change in direction or outcome. The unexpected has always occurred, and business leaders have always had to deal with it, but this type of resilience is more important than ever for several reasons.

First, the world is in a transitional period, politically, economically, culturally and technologically. Business is becoming increasingly global in both structure and operations.  Culturally, America is close to becoming a “minority majority” nation, resulting in a diverse and less-predictable culture. And technologically, every process and business is being disrupted by machines and artificial intelligence. Continue reading

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Stop Hoping: Make 2021 a Great Year

Word Count: 1,612
Estimated Read Time: 7 min.

It’s been said that perception is reality.  But what is interesting is that we are able to control our perception of things.  How we look at things is a choice.  We are each able to control our perception or viewpoint of things as well as our attitude or how we feel about it, and how we respond to it.

Some think that perception and attitude are one and the same.  They’re not.  The difference between perception and attitude is that perception is the use of the mind and/or senses to comprehend or understand one’s surroundings.  Perception is about awareness and assessment.  Not just seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching and thinking… but assessing the input received and then evaluating or estimating the nature, ability or quality of that information. Continue reading

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One Thing to Improve in 2021: Consistency

Word Count: 1,828
Estimated Read Time: 7 min.

According to the dictionary, to be consistent is “to stay, be or look the same or do the same thing at different times over a period of time, especially so as to be fair or accurate.”  It is to be free from variation or contradiction.  In short, consistency is to be unwavering, unfailing, regular, and stable.  To be able to do anything consistently is actually quite an achievement.  For most people, it is one of the hardest things to do and be.  But why? Continue reading

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